Do You Worship Out of a Sense of Duty or Thankfulness?

In Psalm 50, Asaph confronts Israel regarding their worship and living. What they were doing isn’t much different from what many do today. Their worship was formulaic. In other words, they were going through the motions. Sure, they brought the appropriate sacrifices, but it was done more out of a sense of duty instead of thanksgiving.

Many Do the Same Today

To our shame, many today view the Sunday worship service as nothing more than another box to check off on their spiritual checklist right alongside their morning prayer and devotion. Thinking that way, we drag ourselves to the Sunday Service, sing a few songs, bow for the pastoral prayer, greet our neighbors, place some money in the offering plate, listen to the sermon, and then we are on our way, patting ourselves on the back for a job well done. Why do we do this?

Why Do We Worship Out of Duty?

We worship out of duty because we think that is what God wants or needs. But that is far from the truth. God doesn’t need us, our provisions, or our worship. He owns everything, and He is satisfied in and of Himself. The truth is, we need God. We need His provisions and care.

The Gospel Changes Our Perspective

Instead of faking it, what we need to do is change our perspective. The way we do that is by meditating on the gospel.

The gospel tells us we are sinners, who have rebelled against and offended a holy God. As a result, we are destined to suffer His wrath. However, Jesus came, lived a perfect life, and, even though He didn’t deserve God’s wrath, He faced it on our behalf. He took the wrath we deserve on Himself. All those who repent of their sins and believe Jesus suffered the punishment we deserve, can experience a restored relationship with the Father free from the fear of judgment.

For Jesus’ sacrifice, we should be thankful. For God’s provision and care in our life, we should be thankful. Our thankfulness should drive us to worship God. So when we begin to go through the motions in worship, what we need to do is stop, meditate on the gospel, and remember God’s provisions.

We need to reset our heart, so we see that it’s not God who needs us, but we who need Him.

When we truly see our need for God and how He has provided for us, we should be driven to worship out of a sense of thankfulness instead of duty. When we worship from a right heart, we end up glorifying God. For He says in Psalm 50:23

“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” (Ps. 50:23)

Question for Reflection

  1. Does thankfulness or duty drive your worship?

Resource

Image

Learning the Art of Waiting is Worth It

I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.” (Ps 40:1–3)

Gone are the days when we have to take a trip to the local store for groceries, clothes, movies, or other goods. In our always connected digital world, we can have them delivered to our house the same day or watch on demand. There are advantages to be sure. We can get more done, relax longer, and play more with our kids.

Our Patience is Growing Thin

However, there are also disadvantages. One is that our patience grows thin. You know what I am talking about, if our movie buffers or our item isn’t delivered in a couple of hours, we feel slighted, and we take to social media to instantly complain about our mistreatment.

A Thin Patience Affects Our Relationship with God

But a diminished patience not only leads us to complain more about companies online, it also leads us to complain more about God.

We think God must work like the companies we both admire and complain about. He must cater to our needs instantly. The benefits of waiting are lost on us.

This negatively affects our spiritual growth and leads to diminished worship. Instead of praising the Lord when He comes through, we say, “Finally, what took you so long.” Instead of leading others to worship God for His faithfulness, we complain, drawing others away instead of towards God.

Learning the Art of Waiting is Worth It

Waiting for the Lord to deliver or answer us is difficult, but it is worth it. God’s plan is greater than ours. His timing is perfect. Recognizing that helps us to see that this world isn’t all about us, our wants, and our desires. Instead, it’s about God, His plan, His will, and His purposes for this world and our life.

While it is hard for us to wait, there is a lot we can learn during that time, so may we learn to wait on the Lord, and may we praise Him even more when He answers us.

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you believe our instant society is affecting your relationship with God?

Resource

Image

A Call To Maturity: How the older generation can train the youth of today

March 2013’s edition of Table Talk Magazine covers Youth Culture. In an article entitled A Call to Maturity, Robert Carver challenges the older generation to train up our youth in the way of the Lord.

While there is a cultural divide between the older generation and the up and coming youth, godly saints still have a lot of wisdom to offer. Walking with the Lord for 30, 40, or even 50 years bears a lot of fruit. Fruit that needs to be shared. Even though formal instruction exists in homes, schools, and churches, informal day-to-day opportunities are available. Carver offers three practical ways to take advantage of the everyday.

How to Take Advantage of the Everything

(1) Love Them Genuinely And Patiently

The younger generation needs to know that the older generation is not estranged from them. The church is a body made up of many members, young and old – all valuable to the functioning of the whole.

In Ephesians 4, Paul describes the saints as growing from spiritual immaturity “to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (v. 13). This process is accomplished “when each part is working properly, mak[ing] the body grow so that it builds itself up in love’ (v. 16).

If we are to have an impact on the young, we must love them, and they must know that we do.

Love one another earnestly from a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22).

If you are a part of the older generation, don’t be hesitant to tell the up and coming youth you know that you love them (corporately and individually). To love them genuinely and patiently is to love them as God loves us.

(2) Share With Them What Is Most Important to You

One thing that should be important to you is God’s Word. Let the youth see your passionate love for God’s Word as it instructs you, guides you, encourages you, and convicts you. Let them see how vital of a component it is for your everyday life.

I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12).

Share specific passages that have gripped your life recently.

Also, convey to them the essential nature of prayer. Help them to see that it is an activity Christians can’t live without. Do this as you pray with them and for them. Le’ts Paul’s testimony of Epaphras be yours. In Colossians 4:12, Paul testified that Epaphras was “always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God” (Col. 4:12).

Without fail urge them to fight the good fight, to battle tirelessly with sin, and to flee youthful passions (2 Tim. 2:22) that wage war against the soul (1 Peter 2:11).

Furthermore, challenge them to see God at work in all events, including the details of their lives. Encourage them to constantly thank God for all they have and for them to never forget to give Him all glory.

(3) Invest In Them

Buy them books that have made a spiritual impact on your life, and offer to study these books with them. Offer to take them to conferences and other Christian gatherings. The investments we make in their spiritual lives will pay everlasting dividends.

Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days (Eccl. 11:1).

Conclusion

After offering three practical suggestions Carver closes by saying:

So, “to what shall I compare this generation?” Surely it is a generation like no other. But it is also a generation that needs to know Christ’s redeeming love, and needs to shine as lights in the world in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation (Phil. 2:15) – just as we of the older generation needed to do back in our day (and now). May God help us to be examples and loving instructors to them, and may they do likewise.”

I believe Carver’s call and suggestions are helpful and must be heeded. I can speak from personal experience in saying that the older generation has influenced me. I am thankful men have stepped up and spoke into my life. I am afraid though that is a rarity, but it doesn’t have to be.

May those in the older generation feel God’s call to train up the youth of this generation to be the men and women of Christ that they have become.

Resource

Table Talk Magazine March 2013, A Call to Maturity, 23-25.

Image